Sunday, June 19, 2005

Children of the State

Ruth Kelly, the UK Education Secretary, announced this week that she wishes to extend school opening hours from six and a half hours per week, to ten or eleven, and this to include the normal school holidays, in order that parents can effectively almost entirely offload their responsibilities towards their children onto the state.

Ho hum. Now these poor kids will have to accept the savaging of affectional bonds with their families. Who says that when children get to school age, that they suddenly stop needing the special love and attention that can only be provided by the closest of ties? One only has to recall the misery of boarders during the first week back at senior school, and remember the appalling defence mechanisms that they employed in order to override the grief - the narcissism, the borderline personality disorders, the simple straight-forward depressive tendencies...the list goes on, to see how damaging and stupid this sort of thing is.

This new generation of children will also have to tolerate the intellectually degrading diversity agenda, the moral and cultural relativity and the political correctness that underpins the current UK educational curriculum as constituting the entire content of their day.

They will have to accept all this, along with all the petty restrictions, the coercion, the boredom, the inability to take genuine risks, the unlikelihood of finding out what they are genuinely interested in doing, and the impossibility of learning to deal with that which is censored within the school environment.

How are these children going to learn to engage with the real world outside the confines of the school gates: to see how the world of work really functions, to mix with people of all ages, to care for babies and animals, to cross new roads, to climb real mountains, to play GTA, to find out what it is like to choose one's friends freely and to run naked in the snow? What can we possibly expect of such a generation of children?

Hopefully, this generation will see that all this, the breaking of family bonds, the multi-cultural diversity agenda, the intellectual censorship and all the other limitations that are imposed as the straws that break the camel's back. Perhaps there will be a shift in the ethics underpinning education as young people are allowed to get real again. Perhaps they will just walk and Ms Kelly, far from extending school hours, will find that she has nothing left to extend!

Well, OK but I can but dream. At the very least, I hope that it will make prospective parents think again. What these people should be thinking is, "If we really are going to abandon our children to the state, what is the point of having them in the first place?" Given that we are already concerned about the lack of UK babies, perhaps government would wise up and do something far more constructive, like giving parents tax breaks to pay grandparents to HE their grandchildren!!!


watson said...

You wrote..

'How are these children going to learn to engage with the real world outside the confines of the school gates'

If these children are the future then the line between school and the 'real world' will surely become more and more blurred - aren't we already seeing this in the way people relate to children and young people now? There are still people around who can remember that it wasn't always like this - but they are getting fewer as the clever brainwashing becomes better. We can only hope that those children who escape or survive the system with any sort of individuality and thinking skills intact will have enough influence to make a difference and that they have the energy to continue fighting throughout their lives. I guess there are always all these government run 'lifelong learning' schemes to fall back on! The trouble is, it could well be that the only people who are able to function in 'the real world' are those who have been through this training, mind numbing factory process. Don't we already see signs of this when we are let out into normal company with our wacky, mad ideas and up front, confident children? I know I do! I guess whether or not you are a social misfit depends on the company you keep.

Carlotta said...

You wrote:
>I guess whether or not you are a social misfit depends on the company you keep.

Lol...Ah, well, now you raise this, (and I sort of suspect you know what's coming), I do hold to the belief that this is not so! As you do, I know, agree...whether you are a social misfit or not actually depends on how good your ethical system is: ie: whether or not one pays good heed to reality, whether or not the ethical system contains good explanations of reality, whether or not it derives its theories from these explanations, whether the theories thus derived really solve problems well, whether these solutions actually fit with other good solutions.

I really see your other point. It is nowadays perfectly possible to go cradle to grave without leaving the insanely sanitised world of school, college, work and one could do this without batting an eyelid and without any genuine awareness of what on earth is going on.

I don't really see this as the fountain-head of progress or the main-spring of creativity however. The world should treasure and will always need those who think outside the box. Seemingly madcap ideas may well be the future.

I also think that there is a real chance that even within the mind numbing factory processes, there is a chance that school alone will fail to prepare you for the next step in the mind numbing process.

Hieronymous said...

Sorry this is a bit off track here, but the use of the education system as a more effective childcare facility than it already is happens and has happened for years in other countries, notably France. What conclusions do you draw from observing the effects of this on the French?

Carlotta said...

I suspect you may know much more about this than I do. What I do know is that British boarding schools, where children often don't see their parents for months at a time, (and this can start from the age of 7 or even less), have a tremendous capacity to screw people up...even more than they already have been by being raised by successions of unloving nannies.

Hieronymous said...

Actually I don't! Am completely out of touch with what goes on in France, and thought you might have a better idea. I'm absolutely convinced personally that having children and then handing them over to some one else to do the 'work' of looking after them is a very sad state of affairs.

I imagine the politicians that come up with *new* suggestions for extended school hours are basing this on the apparent success of such policies else where. It might be interesting to know why they think such policies are successful. Then, perhaps it would be easier to combat the suggestion.

It seems to me to be a pattern that reproduces itself. Children who have been handed over to experts will lose faith in their own capacity to be good parents and know how to take responsibility, and will therefore perpetuate this lack of confidence ad infinitum. As you point out, this used to be confined to the small percentage of society who could afford boarding schools; but with such new policies in place the psychological damage/behaviour caused by this will affect the entire country.